Whenever we talk about art, we cannot avoid numerous related issues. They usually relate to articulating what art is, as this is different for every individual and offers numerous possibilities for reflection with regard to the form, concept or context of a work of art. Regardless of which we choose, we should be aware that we always also think about a certain cultural, social, geopolitical and economic area or their combination. The exhibition What If Time Stood Still? is a minute undertaking in this respect, which seeks to examine art practices by directly “gazing” into the past, which allows for a more comprehensive insight into individual art practices.
The exhibition What If Time Stood Still? seeks to move away from the classical thematic exhibition, as it highlights individual artistic works and examines their role in contemporary art. More specifically, it juxtaposes two artworks created in completely different times and different contexts, which nevertheless share common points and thus raise questions on the development of art together. They are directly self-conscious regarding the history of art and art practice, which significantly influences the development of contemporary art. The purpose of the exhibition is not to ‘glorify’ the history of art and its crucial moments, but to reflect them and directly relate them to the present and to contemporary visual art. This principle seeks to contextualise the work of younger and mid-career artists, while also displaying the tremendous sensibility and contemporary nature of certain historical art movements. This is also the subject of Boris Groys’ article Comrades of Time, which argues that some, now already historical, art works still seem very fresh and contemporary after several decades because of their original look into the future. What If Time Stood Still? Juxtaposes a work by Ed Ruscha, Every Building on the Sunset Strip (1966) and the work Every Building on Avenida Alfonso Ugarte (2011) by Claudia Joskowicz, in order to create a tension between the visual and conceptual components, as the works are very closely related visually, while the conceptual premises are completely different, as they both examine the time and space in which they were created.
Therefore, the exhibition tries to encourage the viewer to think about their points of contact and separation, while taking into account the fact that, in addition to its visual aspect, a work of art is a combination of questions about contexts and references that have always been present and have played a critical role in positioning art practices and determining contemporary artistic trends. Therefore, the exhibits create a tension for the viewer related to the viewer’s behaviour, knowledge, memory or rational, emotional and aesthetic experience.
Curator: Tevž Logar
The project is s supported by The Municipality of Ljubljana and U.S. Embassy Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Acknowledgements: Galerija Škuc, Mestni muzej Ljubljana